Food Safety: How the Battle Begins at Home
In the light of the pandemic and other struggles, food safety has emerged as a very relevant and important area of concern for the world.
As the world faced waves after waves of Covid-19, comorbidities and other ailments became a leading cause for suffering among affected patients. Therefore, food safety has emerged as an important topic that affects the health of everyone around the world.
India’s food safety regulator, FSSAI has played an active part in ensuring that retailers and food businesses implement effective food safety practices.
However, in a country like India which is still grappling with poverty and where large sections of the food supply chain remains unsupervised, it’s important for us to ensure that the food is safe and healthy.
As per data maintained by the UN, “An estimated 4,20,000 people around the world die every year after eating contaminated food and children under 5 years of age carry 40 percent of the foodborne disease burden, with 1,25,000 deaths every year”.
Food Safety at Home
As governments and organisations like the UN and WHO tighten regulatory norms to ensure large scale safety, we need to understand that this war begins at home. By adopting little changes at home, we can guarantee a safer and healthier future for us and our loved ones.
Some of the measures we can adopt are:
Sometimes, we overlook this aspect of our kitchens, especially when we are hard-pressed for time on a busy day working from home. However, it is very important to ensure that our kitchen is clean.
Some of the things we can do to maintain kitchens is to clean after every meal, washing utensils immediately after use, rinsing all new grocery items thoroughly and cleaning the surface of a can before opening the lid.
While this is applicable to everyone, it is very important for meat-consuming households. Always keep raw foods separate from cooked food. Meat, eggs and seafood should be kept separate as the germs can easily spread to other foods.
It is also advisable to use a separate chopping board and utensils to handle raw food.
Don’t eat raw foods
While sushi and sashimi might seem appetizing, such food should not be consumed at home. It takes trained professionals years to master the art of keeping raw food safe, which is difficult in houses.
Raw or uncooked meat, eggs, fish or even dairy products run the risk of spreading Salmonella and other food borne diseases. It is important to cook, as heat kills germs.
Don’t cook when you’re sick
This year saw the rise of home chefs serving Covid meals. While this became popular to provide relief to patients who were unable to cook, it has other scientific benefits as well.
Cooking while you are sick increases risks for you and others. You can easily transfer germs like virus and bacteria in your kitchen and pass it on to food for others, thereby spreading the sickness.
Use your refrigerator well
In warm summers, like the ones experienced in large parts of India, we need to use refrigerators extensively.
Cooked food should be put inside freezers or refrigerators within 2 hours of cooking, while raw food should be stored inside immediately, especially when the weather is hot outside.
(The author is a lawyer turned business intelligence consultant turned chef. He also designs weekly and monthly meal plans for clients and conducts baking and cooking workshops.)
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